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UC graduate students make the case for why their research matters

On March 16, graduate students met with state lawmakers to share their expertise, such as how to conserve water in California aqueducts or engineer bacteria to produce biofuels.

Their aim was not to make elected officials armchair experts in subjects like civil engineering and cell biology. Rather, it was to educate lawmakers about the value of graduate research, and why that work matters to the lives and livelihoods of Californians.

“Many people have an image of a Ph.D. student as someone who is closeted away in a library or lab, far from the concerns of everyday life,” said UC Irvine graduate dean Frances Leslie, who co-chairs UC’s annual Graduate Research Day at the Capitol.

“In fact, UC’s 26,000 master’s and doctoral students are at the forefront of many of the most pressing issues – and most revolutionary advances – in health, transportation, energy, the environment and other areas.”

UC President Janet Napolitano joined a delegation of graduate deans and at least two graduate students from each UC campus in meeting with legislators.

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